Friday, June 29, 2012

Pinterest, You Lying BEEP!

This week has really taken its toll on me.  The kids behaved like they had just been released from a maximum security prison and were having the first round of freedom after 30 years.  So, basically it was a zoo (a zoo in which all the animals are on crack cocaine).  Seriously.

The Boy Child and Girl 2 fought constantly.  I felt like a referee and after about two days my bell to signal the next round had worn out.

By Wednesday I was a woman at the end of her rope.  Hubby got home and I gently unloaded on him (and by that I mean I got up really close in his face and whispered, "YOUR KIDS ARE MANIACS AND I AM GOING BATSH*T CRAZY.  SOMEBODY HELP ME.")  He decided I needed some R and R and booked me a trip to the Bahamas with some of my closest friends................oh, wait.  No, that didn't happen.

What did happen is that he took away all electronics, every single privelege, and swimming for all of Thursday.  What???  Swimming, too???  I know.  He's rough.

And you wanna know the crazy part (which is why I am actually able to type this post from my desk and not from some cozy sanitarium for women with four kids who drive her NUTS)?  It worked!  Thursday was a dream.  It started with another cake pop/donut holes attempt.  (I know, am I ca-razy?  Clearly, the answer is yes.)  AND ended with piano lessons.  There was minimal fighting and I got my second wind.  Finally. 

(I kinda wish my phone would have been charged or that I would have been able to find the actual camera when I made the donut holes because it was part drama, part hilarity, and part yummy.  More on that when I either attempt them again or go out and buy actual donut holes and photograph them for you.)

Today was also a dream.  We had a much needed relaxing day at the river and it was bliss (well, except for the part where I was still with four small people, not drinking an alcoholic beverage, and in South Texas and not the sandy beaches of Mexico).  KIDDING!  Kind of. 

It was perfect.  The kids are on DAY 2 of behaving like fairly normal people.  Success?  I THINK SO!

So, why is Pinterest a lying BEEP?  Well, because she is.

I love my readers and they are what sustained me (that and some dark chocolate and some Lite beer from Miller) through this Momority pledege week.

My last post was a cake pop rant and I just love what my readers commented.  Thank you.  Thank you the most for complimenting my somewhat pathetic pops.  You made my week.  Every time I could steal a minute from the complete chaos that was my living room and make it to my desk to check my emails, I would read a comment and be happy.  Then someone would throw a right hook, or pull someone's hair, or pinch someone hard enough to draw blood and I would have to go administer first aid, send short people to their rooms, and work on my discipline techniques (which are clearly lacking). 

Everytime I was ready to pack my bags and move to a home for aging moms I would think of this comment left by Rantings of a Stay At Home Mom (who, by the way, has an awesome blog and is a baker in a different class than I).  She said (among other nuggets of pure wisdom and genius), "Pinterest, you lying bitch." 

Seriously.  When you have a tough day this summer (which, if you have kids - you are gonna have a tough day this summer), I think we all can agree that this simple phrase will just make you smile and feel better.  About life and about yourself.  So, can I get an, "Amen?" 

Thank you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cake Pops, The Sequel (and Jesus Dies on the Cross - in case you didn't know)

So, this past week my dad turned 96.  No, that's not a typo.  I was a late, late baby.  (Because I am only 30ish, so how could that even be possible???)  I am the last of 10.  No, that is not a typo. 

I don't write much about my childhood or my family (the one I came from, not the one I birthed and currently live with).  This is not because they are a motley group of side-show freaks (although - they are).  It's just that I usually have plenty of blog fodder with my own little family and if I added the other circus side-show to it I would never do anything but blog (which would be fine with me, but hubby might get a little ticked). 

One of my sisters (I have six) suggested, after seeing my cake pops post, that I make basketballs and baseballs for our dad's birthday party in June.  Daddy is a huge sports fan.  (Who watches golf in person let alone on TV?  And likes it??  Dad does.)  The consensus (and by consensus - I mean the one in my head) was I should look up some recipes for balls (sports balls) and make them for Dad. 

I immediately searched Pinterest for "basketball cake pops" and "baseball cake pops."  And came up with this  and this.  Yeah, I know.  Now, I have a couple of theories here.  These pops were clearly done by a professional, or at least someone way more talented than me (which would be about 99% of the developed world).  Or, Pinterest is only for over achievers.  Or, people do not pin their mistakes.  Or, no one besides me makes mistakes.

I stopped looking at Pinterest and gave myself sometime (a few months) to talk myself out of it.  Alas, I can be stubborn when it comes to thinking I can do something.

So, even though I realized I had made a date with my new hair sylist (who I kinda love) the day before the party, (and all the talent cards were stacked against me!) I still decided to forge ahead with the idea.  In an effort to have the cake pops ready in time, I started making them two days before the party. 

It mostly went okay.  The kids insisted on helping since it was for grandpa.  (I'm pretty sure no kids are helping on Pinterest.)  So, that's kinda why this happened:



There is a God, so this is how the rest of the balls came out:


Not as neatly round as before, but okay.  As you know, nothing can ever be perfect or normal in my house, so the process of decorating these balls the next day was laborious and painful.  Again, there is a God (apparently) and her name is Our Ex-Babysitter.  (That's not really her name, but if I gave you guys her real name you would all try to google her and ask her to babysit for your kids and she would never get to be in the movies.)

I loved her before.  (When she wasn't moving to Hollywood to become a famous script supervisor.  Damn her for getting her degree ?? and not staying our babysitter forever).  But after she stayed at my house after watching The Heathens for two plus hours (while I got a hair cut) to assist me in decorating the rest of the balls, helped clean my disaster of a kitchen, and helped get the kids ready for swimming - I felt I might want her to be a sister wife to me (thank you, TLC for giving me that idea).

She helped get the balls to look like this: 

Do not look too closely.

Here's what I learned: 

Chocolate can be a little like a rosebush - prissy and finicky.  (Except that we do not go around eating roses, nor do I know anyone who craves them at midnight - but you get the point, right?)  If you add any moisture to chocolate it turns into the paste we used to use in school back when there were dinosaurs.  There is no way to fix that when it happens.  You just have to break open another package of Wilton's chocolate (that costs about $4.00 per bag).  That whole ordeal *might* make you want to curse.  Especially if it happens more than once.  (Not that that happened to me.  Twice.)

I also learned that you should make sure you have all the ingredients on hand before you start to decorate (like food coloring).  When you want to dye the chocolate - you need food coloring.  Duh!  You might want to make sure it is still in your cupboard and wasn't used in a volcano making science project by Girl 1 and her dad.


I also learned you need to have the proper tools to decorate.  Gel writers are NOT the proper tool because they never dry fully.  I think it says that somewhere on the tube.  Who knows what it really says.  (Because who reads labels?  Not me.)  What it should say on the tube in large letters so that even if you don't read labels you will see it:  This blessed writer is perfect for nothing because it never fully dries.  Don't buy it.  Gel writers *might* make you want to curse again.  Here is what happens when they are not dry and you try to put them in the cute little wrappers:

This is why I am not Martha Stewart.


In the end it all turned out okay.  Our Ex-Babysitter gets most of the credit for saving my arse. 

The kids all helped put together a nice little treat basket for dad.  He has mostly sweet teeth, so we packed this basket full of snacks for him that he can enjoy while watching his sports.  And the best touch was that the kids all made him cards.  Girl 3 colored two pictures for him.  One was from her Christmas coloring book (because it's June) and one was from her Religious Coloring Book (because she's kinda the holy roller of the family).  Both perfect for dad's 96th birthday!  When I questioned her, "Are you sure you want to use Christmas and Jesus for grandpy's birthday basket?"  Her answer was simply, "Yes.  It's grandpy's birthday with cake pops!  And, Jesus died on the cross!" 

All righty, then.  Because that's how our family rolls?


I will pin this on Pinterest because I'm pretty sure there's nothing like this already on there.  And if there's anything Pinterest needs it's a little more realism.  You're welcome.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Are you smarter than a raccoon?

So, I have about a million posts I need to do, but summer is stressful y'all.  I have four kids underfoot (who I wanted to have underfoot so damn bad ??? - clearly I was nuts), work has picked up like no body's business, hubby has been working a lot, and summer (remember her?) has been calling my name (along with Lite beer from Miller).  You can find Blogging on my list right below Drink beer and Get some sun.  But, that doesn't mean crazy sh*t hasn't been happening 24/7 (damn it).  So, here's one tale of woe from our household to yours.

Preface and note to card carrying PETA members who may be reading my blog - I am not Wild Kingdom Mutual of Omaha.  Remember?  I don't like too many animals.

Raccoons are smart fuck*rs.  I hate them. 

Our raccoon fight started about a month and a half ago when I woke up to find our garbage strewn all over our side yard and into our back yard.  I was joyous at this discovery (as I am sure the neighbors were as well).  I knew it was raccoons because we've had trouble with them before.  (Mostly when our Satanic cat was still alive. Well, I'm sure he's still alive because cats have nine lives. He's just not with us anymore. Thank you, Jesus.)  Our house backs up to a creek bed and there are apparently generations and generations of the smart little fu*kers living back there.  Our neighborhood raccoons have eaten our now dead cat's food, rolled around in our now dead dog's water and food dishes, taunted our cat many times from the window, tried to open our screens in the back, and basically just made our lives a living hell in the past.  We have photographed them and they've all but autographed the photos for us.  One time hubby woke up to a commotion out in the back and found about 22 pairs of raccoons eyes staring at him when he opened our back door.  Creepy.  Sh*t. 

So, just like Jason, the raccoons have shown up again - in force. Right before they showed up, hubby got a wild hair up his a$$ and decided to clean our garbage can.  (Which in case you are unfamiliar with this ritual, is kind of like cleaning your garbage disposal - necessary, but illogical.  Cleaning a receptacle used for garbage?  You know I don't clean things that are supposed to be clean, so I can only think of about eight million ways I would rather spend my time.)  Regardless, Hubby and Boy Child cleaned the garbage can like it was a freaking car and I was appreciative.  That thing was so clean I think our whole block smelled like bleach.

Looking back, that *might* have been what tipped the raccoons off.

The next day, I made my way around to get into the Yukon Cornelius and I found garbage was strewn all over.  I cursed a lot, cleaned up the garbage, and figured raccoons must have somehow gotten into our pristine garbage can.  Damn it.  Hubby only cleans the garbage can about once every five years, so of course this would happen.  After that, the garbage can smelled like sh*t again.

I decided the damn raccoons were climbing the fence between our house and the neighbors to lift up the lid of the can and pull out the garbage.  I promptly said, "I'll teach those fu*king smart a$$ raccoons and move the can.  They won't be able to use the fence to eat the garbage.  Ha!  Now who's your daddy?" 

I broke the news of what had happened to hubby and Boy Child and they were both pissed that the raccoons had ruined their clean garbage can.  They vowed to clean it again for me.  In another eight years.

The next morning I went to get in the Yukon Cornelius and there was garbage strewn everywhere again.  I cursed quite loudly this time and kicked the garbage can before I cleaned up all the garbage.  After surveying the garbage can set-up closely I decided that since they couldn't use the fence to climb into the cans, they had used the overhanging tree.  My bad.  Sh*t.  I moved the cans away from the trees clear out into an open space where there was nothing that they could possibly climb on to get into the cans.  I was gonna teach those fu*king raccoons a lesson.

The next day I practically skipped out to the Yukon Cornelius, so happy that I had outsmarted the raccoons.  Garbage strewn everywhere again.  That's what greeted me.

Damn it!  I was pissed.  I kicked the can, yelled my curse words, and then yelled out to any raccoons who might be risking daylight to see my reaction.  At this point I was sure they were watching me and actually laughing.

I decided it was time to consult hubby more seriously and I was freaking sick of cleaning up their garbage messes. 

Hubby blamed it all on them having opposable thumbs and thought it was better if we moved the cans WAY out where there would be no possible way they could use anything for leverage (possibly they had used a low growing vine we have on their last successful attempt).  So, we did that.

The fu*kers did it again.

I consulted hubby and Boy Child this time (although, Boy Child was well aware of the raccoon shenanigans throughout this ordeal).  Boy Child decided it was time to move the can into the garage because obviously the raccoons were climbing on each other like Russian gymnasts and then back flipping into the can to eat our garbage.

We did.

And then, we (and by we I mean Boy Child) forgot to take the garbage can out to the curb because we (and by we I mean Boy Child) couldn't see it in the garage.  Twice.

So, then our garage smelled like sh*t.  Thank you, raccoons.

By this time I was positively exuberant about the raccoon situation.

We moved the can back outside and hubby found a HUGE rock to put on top of it.  No raccoon (unless he was like superhuman raccoon) could move this rock.

I think you can guess what happened.  The next morning I sulked out to the Yukon (because I had learned that opposable thumbs do, indeed, give raccoons amazing brain power and that they can probably text and do calculus so I was not going to even think they could be outsmarted by a simple rock weighing about 100 pounds) to find the rock tipped off the can and garbage again strewn all over.  But, it was less garbage.  It occurred to me that once they used a lot of strength and brain power to get the rock off, they had less energy to dumpster dive.  I felt oddly like I'd won (even though I hadn't and still had to clean up their mess).


That night Hubby found an even heavier rock to put on the can. 


I was doubtful it would matter, and sure enough they've tipped over this rock now twice and I've found the rock on the ground and like one torn open Ziploc bag.  Not the strewn garbage messes like in the past.  We kind of feel like we are winning the war.  And I kind of feel like they kind of feel like they are winning this war, too.

So, I guess we are at a stalemate.


I will not be surprised in the least if the next time I walk out to the Yukon there is a typed (or handwritten) note on the garbage can from the raccoons.


"Dear A Day in the Life (because they would know my name),

We are clearly smarter than you. Whatever you do to protect your can, we will get in. Kindly leave us our meal outside the can, and we won't have to keep taunting you like this. Thanks!

The Raccoons

P.S. We like pepperoni on our pizza."

I am ready to get a nanny-cam out there because maybe it's not raccoons.  Maybe it's the chupacabra.  (I think this *might* be making me a little insane?)  Hubby is ready to invent a locking garbage can (but we are worried about the actual garbage man who collects the garbage - or recollects the garbage as it were - not being able to open it).  My sister suggested I just call the city (or Davy Crockett) and have them bring me a trap (if the city even is in the business of trapping raccoons and relocating them???).  This is a good idea, but I just know more raccoons will come after that.  And then they'll be even more pissed because I took away their Aunt Susie or Uncle Bob.

I am becoming weary.  And I've kind of resigned myself to cleaning up after them until they grow tired of us and our garbage.  Then I will have won.

I've also considered a shotgun.  And a note to them.


"Dear Raccoons,

I've had enough of your bullsh*t.  If you don't like how Uncle Bob looks, find another garbage can to raid.  Thanks! 

A Day in the Life 

P.S.  I win."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Artist's Way Toolkit Review

Disclaimer:  I am being compensated by BlogHer for this review although the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

My Artist's Way Toolkit is an online toolkit for creativity (and a web-version of the artist's way notebook) based on the book An Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  I did not read An Artist's Way, but I have had access to the toolkit for about three weeks now.

First I will describe what the toolkit is and then I will tell you a few things that I learned by reviewing the toolkit.  The toolkit is basically an online notebook that looks very much like a real notebook.  It has the following (either actually "in" the notebook, or as suggestions). 

1.  Morning Pages - three pages of longhand writing daily.  It is recommended that you minimally do this when experiencing your creativity even though this is not actually done online but rather in an actual notebook.
2.  An artist's date - solo-expedition with a "task."  These tasks are provided to you as part of the toolkit.  Some of my examples were:  take a brisk 20 minute walk, visit a candy store and purchase candy from your youth, go to the beach without technology and walk, breathe, and listen.  It is recommended that if you are going to add something to your morning pages it be "artist's date."
3.  Artist's Way Exercises - These exercises are part of the toolkit and are almost like writing prompts or thought prompts
4.  Creative affirmations - affirmations from the book which can be changed by clicking on them.
5.  Creative soundbites - different soundbites which are in the toolkit and can be changed by clicking on them.
6.  Interacting with the creative community.  These are parts of the toolkit in the form of links to groups, directions for forming groups, and links to social networks on Facebook, Twitter, and more.

What I learned:

1.  I must consider myself to be fairly artistically creative already, so what I thought might be a great and deep way to strengthen my creativity often felt like a waste of time when I could be (ironically) doing something more creative! 
2.  Writing three pages longhand daily was difficult for me in grade school, and it still is.  I have not written longhand (other than lists, a few letters, and a few brief notes) in about eight years.  I found it tedious and not enjoyable at all.  I do plenty of drafting, composing, and writing at the computer.  I do believe writing longhand has a value, but I do enough of it already.
2.  I did three of the artist's dates, but I didn't really get too much out of them.
3.  I think this would be an excellent resource for people who really need to express themselves creatively and are unsure how to go about it.  I also think that if people are looking for a meditation tool, this could be it.  In other words, it would make a great road map for beginners.

One interesting thing Julia Cameron says in her introduction to the toolkit is that people know how to work.  But, people do not know how to play.  When we are told to get something done - we can do it.  We can work harder or longer hours.  But, it's different when it comes to being creative.  Many people do not know how to unleash their creativity.  I think that's probably true for a lot of people.

So, my bottom line on the toolkit - if you are having trouble expressing your creativity - this might be the buy for you.  If you are already creative - I'm not sure this is going to help you.  Follow An Artist's Way Toolkit discussion at http://www.blogher.com/bookclub/now-reviewing-my-artists-way-toolkit to learn more and be part of the discussion.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Going Blind, Part 2

So, I'm fairly recovered from my trip out of town.  After washing for three days straight, I am fairly caught up on laundry.  I have had a chance to watch a few episodes of America's Got Talent, I have eaten a lot of my own cooking, and I have had a chance to sleep for a while.  That brings me to my second edition of how I nearly went blind. 

Don't worry.  It's short. 

1.  I hate eating out.  I know that's weird, too.  But, my germaphobia gets to me.  Again, I have no problem with germs I know and am a firm advocate of The Five Minute/Hour Rule.  It's germs I don't know that positively drive me batty.  I cannot stand fast food places.  It makes me insane to know that teenagers with budding hygiene habits are touching my food and when I finally get my "fast" food there are usually errors in what I actually ordered and invariably I get the person at the register who has a visible cold or possibly herpes.  It's not much easier for me at actual restaurants.  I have a few restaurants I have deemed "clean" and I generally stick to those.  (I didn't used to be this way.  I guess it's just a gem of getting old, watching too much Nightline:  Salmonella, and having four kids with limited hygiene habits.) 

So, while I was away from home, of course, I had to eat out a few times - in a place I don't know that well.  Ugh.  The first day I ate packaged food from the free breakfast at the hotel.  It was fine.  For lunch I decided to shop at IKEA, I got distracted (of course, it's IKEA!!), and then realized I only had about 20 minutes left to get back to the training before "lunch" was over.  I was having a craving for Chinese food - which is dangerous.  Chinese restaurants are always tough for me because I just don't trust them (sorry to the entire Chinese culture and please excuse my political incorrectness).  One time a million years ago I saw an episode of Behind The Kitchen Door and there was a dog in the kitchen of a local Chinese restaurant.  Since then I cannot eat at a Chinese place unless I personally inspect the kitchen (well, almost).  For years hubby tried to tell me, "WE have a dog in the kitchen!?"  But, then he stopped because it wasn't changing my mind in the least.

Fast forward to this past week and there I am craving Chinese.  I had never eaten at this particular Chinese fast food place (which will remain unnamed), so I decided to try it.  I am sorry I did.  By the time I got my food back to the hotel, I had about 10 minutes until the training was starting, and I was pretty hungry.  I was half way through my meal when I saw the long, dark brown hair.  I know it wasn't mine.  Mine was pulled back and mine is not curly.  At all.  At that moment I *kinda* wished I was blind so that I could just finish my meal.


2.  The above sign was posted in the "work-out" room where I ran every day I was there.  First of all, I love the "THANK YOU."  Nice touch.  I would've written that on the sign, had I written the sign.  Second of all, I am a rule follower and I have no desire to remove my top (or my shoes) while I am working out or in a public area.  So, while I am thankful for the reminder - it was really totally unnecessary........for me.

But, alas, all people are not rule followers, or they are blind and can't see the sign, or they are illiterate and can't read the sign.  I think the Man with Man Boobs who needed some sun was just not a rule follower.  I, obviously, could not photograph him.  But, he *kinda* looked like this: 

Photo courtesy of http://www.marvelousmanboobs.com/b/pool.  And, BTW, do NOT google "man boobs."

I *kinda* wanted to poke my eyes out with sharp sticks.  And, it was kind of unfair.  I followed the rules and kept my shirt on.  You're welcome, Man Boob Man.  He did not.  I call, "Unfair!"

There you have it, dear readers - how I almost went blind, but didn't.  Happy travels!  I hope you are more successful on your summer trips away from home.  I am wary of my next trip.  Can you really blame me?

Friday, June 8, 2012

How To Blind Yourself While Away From Home, Part 1

I've been out of town at a training since Tuesday.  First of all - I missed you all dearly (and I tried tortuously, unsuccessfully, and repeatedly to write to you - which I will detail in a minute).  Second of all - I nearly blinded myself several times while away.  So, I guess this post is part love letter (to you guys) and part PSA - How To Go Blind (or not) While Traveling.  You're welcome.

I don't travel well.  I can never sleep right, I am terrified of bed bugs, I go through a 30 point room inspection (and I am not kidding), I am usually still too freaked out (by what I *might* have seen) to sleep, I just generally hate being away, and my germaphobia makes it hard to touch anything (which can be awkward and time consuming).  And, yes, I realize this is nuts.  (If it is like a 5-star $1,000 a night resort - I'll take it.  Especially if someone else is paying.  No hesitation.  I'm generally just talking about the kinds of hotels I stay in.)

Anyway, while I was away, of course, all these kooky things kept happening and I kept trying to write about them.  It wasn't until many frustrated attempts to post on our Toshiba notebook were unsuccessful that I realized what all the nutty occurrences had in common - they nearly all caused me unrepairable eye damage.  Weird and kind of psychotic.  I know.  But, that's what happened.

How I Almost Suffered Unrepairable Eye Damage At The Blind You Blind Hotel (name changed to protect the innocent)

1.  I tried to post on my blog numerous times in three days.  By "tried to post" this is what I mean:  I would type about half of a post (that I thought was particularly witty and clever) and accidentally hit something on the tablet while reaching for my bad hotel coffee and POOF all of what I had laboriously written was gone.  The FIRST time it happened I was like, "SH*T.  NO FU&*ING way.  THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN."  THEN, I TYPED IT ALL AGAIN.  FROM MEMORY.  That's how much I freakin' love you guys.  THEN IT HAPPENED AGAIN.  Then I cried.  Then I tried the next day and the same thing happened a few more times.  Then I decided my love was not worth my sanity.  That's when I realized I was in danger of going blind.  How?  I basically looked for a sharp object in the cheap hotel with which to POKE MY EYES OUT OF MY SKULL.

2.  As you know, we do not have cable.  We pay for a basic service (which is no longer even called cable) that allows us to have an "on" button on our TV that works.  We can watch fairly decent shows such as:  the news, Nightline with Tom Brokaw (wait, is he dead?), Two and a Half Men (three of whom do not have brains), and a various assortment of criminal/attorney/criminal/judge/attorney/criminal shows.  With this kind of variety every night in and out for 365 days a year, I tend to go a little "hog wild" when I get to a hotel (even a mediocre one).  I *think* I may have watched TLC all night.  Here's what I remember:  Man With the 250 Pound Tumor, Man Born With Half a Body, Sister Wives, Pet Parents.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the bearded lady, the world's tallest man, Tom Thumb, but I have to ask - WHEN DOES IT END???  Man With Half a Face?  Woman With Third Breast?  Twins Joined At Their Pinky Fingers?  I think you can see how this almost made me blind. 

3.  When I travel I have to take mini bottles of everything I use on my face to keep it looking young (that's roughly 75 bottles).  It can get overwhelming and confusing.  Is this the soap or the moisturizer?  Is this the toner or the lightener?  Is this the lifter or the spritzer?  Is this the wine or the beer?  (oh, wait.)  I was really tired Wednesday morning (from watching the man with the 250 pound tumor all night) and I did not yet have my contacts in or my glasses on.  I saw this on the counter. 

Carefully notice (as I did not), the bottle on the left says, "make-up remover."  The bottle on the right says, "clarifying lotion."
In case you don't have old skin, "clarifying lotion" might be 100% rubbing alcohol.  At least that's what it feels like when rubbed directly in your eyes.

I was still sighted on Thursday - enough to attempt blindness two more times.

But, since I haven't slept since Tuesday, I am going to relate that at another time.  Right now I am removing my make-up carefully and settling in with my hubby and Netflix.  It's good to be home.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shopping Bathing Suits 2012

I am prudishly modest.  During the summer when a large part of the human body tends to be exposed, this can be problematic and extremely stressful.

One of the main problems I have is purchasing and wearing a bathing suit.  It sucks.  It's paralyzingly difficult for me.  Am I pear shaped?  Apple shaped?  Watermelon shaped?  Is my "problem area" my buttocks?  My hips?  My boobs (or lack of)?  My stomach?  All of the above?  Why is that never a choice?

Two summers ago after much painstaking decision making, I settled on two suits I thought I liked.  After I wore them each about twice, I decided that I hated them both and that they looked positively awful on me.  Because I am frugal and I had not gone cheap on these suits, I begrudgingly wore them for two full summers so that I could feel justified throwing them away and getting new suits.  Since I could still not bear to throw away perfectly good suits, thankfully this year one of them came unsewn in the bust (poor workmanship, not big boobs).  This was probably something that could have been repaired by someone who knows their way around a sewing machine (not me), but it was excuse enough for me to shop guilt-free for two more suits and let some fortunate soul at Goodwill mess with the two disappointing suits.

So, thus began The Hunt for New Bathing Suits.  Does it sound like an epic film?  Good, because it *kind of* was.

A fashionista friend of mine had recommended this bathing suit store to me a few years ago and after a miserable run with online shopping for suits (turns out I am no real size in the bottoms or the tops), I was ready to brave it.  Now, I think we have covered that I am no shopper, nor am I a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination.  I hate to shop and I know fashion about as well as I know tenth grade chemistry.  So, shopping for me is next to torture.  Shopping for bathing suits is actual torture.

But, I would have made all of you proud.  I got a good night's sleep, I dressed myself in approved clothing, I put lots of make-up on (not hookerish, just nicely covered), I drove myself to the mall where this shop was located, and I marched myself into The Bathing Suit Shop (name changed to protect its identity, and I don't know why because now I kind of want to marry the cute gal that works there, but not the Mister that tried to see me naked).

As soon as I was through the door, this super cute, well-rounded (as in - I am sure she would look lovely in any type bathing suit), very young gal came up to me and asked if she could help me.

I have found through the years that I look okay in Boy Short Bottoms that are kind of high waisted (you know to cover all the war wounds I have on my stomach?) so I immediately asked where I could find those.

And, naturally she said, "Oh, boy shorts (like I had said, "sh*t on a stick.").  We carry everything but those.  Is there something else I could help you with?"

That threw my game off, but I quickly recovered and said, "Well, do you have any suits that um, ah, cover a lot of my body because I have body issues and I don't know what kind of fruit I am?"  And, yes, I realize that sounded completely nuts.  I know my limitations and I basically wanted this cute young gal to tell me and show me what kind of bathing suit I should be wearing.

This is kind of what I had in mind.
photo from http://thehijabworld.com/

This lovely gal did not look at me like I was insane, but instead told me about some different style suits they had, guided me around the store, and left me to my own devices while she helped some other customers.

While I was left to my own devices I noticed there were a lot of men in the store.  This made me:  1.  Wonder what the hell was going on these days, and 2.  More nervous than I already was.  Because if there is anything I don't want to see when attempting to pick out full coverage bathing suits, it's lots of men.  Yeesh.

Then my phone rang really loudly.  It was hubby.  I was thankful to be able to excuse myself (to no one in particular, but some nice, young guy nodded in my direction when I said it) from the store to speak on the phone.  Hubby asked what I was up to and I said, "Funny you should ask.  I am trying to buy a bathing suit and apparently it is a husband's or boyfriend's job nowadays to go with the woman to do this.  So, what are you up to?"

Hubby didn't know what to say and quickly said he had to go.

So, I went back in the shark tank and acted like I knew exactly what I was doing and started to pull some suits off the racks.  The lovely girl finally came back to help me.  Apparently she is psychic because she took one look at what I had selected and said she was going to select some more suits she thought I would like.  How did she know?

It is apparently custom in high-end swim suit shops to 1.  Not be modest, 2.  Have the sales attendant select your suits for you, 3.  Be able to speak honestly, and 4.  Not have to really do anything, but try the suits on.

I stumbled around for awhile and finally figured out that she had put all the suits she selected for me in the back somewhere.  So, I went back to the dressing rooms and found a room where there were about 10 suits she had selected for me hung over the rod at the top of the dressing room door opening.  Problem 1:  the doors on the rooms were cloth.  Lots of room for peek-throughs.  Question 1 and 2:  How did she know my size?  How did she know what I like?  Am I that transparent (yes, I know that's three questions)???

So, I pulled the flimsy cloth curtain as tightly closed as I could and proceeded to strip.  Now, girls know the Golden Rule in trying on swimsuits and I am referring to your undergarments.  And, there in a cute little basket (they don't have these at Target) I saw some disposable panties.  I refrained from pulling those out and taking a look-see, so I cannot write about them (you're welcome).  I prefer to keep my own undergarments on my own arse (thank you, anyway).

I am standing there, naked on top, when I heard a man's voice very close to me (like right outside the flimsy curtain).  He was calling, "Babe, are you here?  Babe?"

I freaked out a little.  And covered myself.  With my hands. 

Then I heard a saleswoman say a little forcefully, "Sir, you are not supposed to be back here.  I'm going to have to ask you to return to the sales floor."

Then, "Oh, I just wanted to see my wife."

Then a different woman's voice, "I'm right here.  Can he just step in the dressing room with me?"

Um, hello???  What kind of a flim-flam operation is this???  Sweet mother of GOD.  (While I am now standing completely enthralled with my ear pressed to the curtain and my hands covering my upper regions.)

Then I heard the sales woman again (thank you, Jesus), "No, I am sorry, sir.  Only women are allowed in the dressing area.  I can have your wife exit this area when she is ready to show you her suits."

Thank you very much.

Relieved I backed away from the curtain and relaxed my arms.

Just then the curtain was sprung open by the cute, well-rounded sales woman who said, "HOW ARE WE DOING HERE?"

"Great!"  I said a little too enthusiastically and frantically. 

Then I died a little.

The sweet sales woman saw me naked a few more times (I think we bonded) before I was able to decide on two suits.  Or, I should say, she decided on two suits for me.  I am now convinced that I should not be wearing any kind of two piece anything after the meh responses I got from her.  And, I am totally sure I should be wearing "rouched tops to accent my 'smaller bustline' and semi-high waisted bottoms to provide some coverage."  She positively gushed at one of my suits - it's fit was "perfect" and it's color was "perfect" and complimented my skin tone "to the tee."  And, she picked both of them!  I did nothing!  But try about 25 suits on and expose myself a few more times.  It was almost delightful and I was out of there in about 45 minutes.  And, I didn't even need hubby!


Whew.  Bathing suit shopping 2012 over!  And, I've already worn each suit once and I think I love them.  I *might* want to go back and buy more suits in a few years.  But since there is a faintly high price tag (as in, you faint when you see the price tag) for this type of bathing suit buying, I might be wearing these suits well in to my seventies.  Let's hope my body cooperates!

Happy shopping, friends!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Like me. Please?

I just bought two bathing suits, so I have a great story for you (unfortunately, it's mostly true).  But, it will have to wait until I am over this migraine.  Apparently there has been a recall on Excedrin Migraine (or at least that's what the poor guy at the grocery told me after I practically beat him down with my purse - because I had a migraine - why else would I be that upset over an Excedrin Migraine recall???), so I am treating the current one with beer.  It is not working and now I am feeling sick to my stomach.

Sickly stomach does not go good with bathing suit humor.  So, just know that I am thinking about all of you, but my head has got to stop hurting before I can tell you about the man (not my husband) who almost saw me naked by accident (he has probably not stopped thanking Jesus for the almost).

In the meantime, please go like my page on Facebook?  Please?  And, yes, I am begging.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=685618639#!/monicaadayinthelife.  When I learn how I will do Facepile and you can see all the other drop dead gorgeous, smart, and incredibly wealthy Facebook users who also like my page. 

Until then, just know that you are the elites (and, also you can be thankful you did not almost see me naked by accident).  Thank you and you're welcome.

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